Un-Making a Murderer, Exclusive Interview with Brendan Dassey and Laura Nirider
This special edition of Wrongful Conviction features Jason Flom’s exclusive interview with Brendan Dassey from behind bars—the only interview ever conducted with Brendan. The case against Brendan, and his uncle Steven Avery, is the subject of Netflix’s hit series Making a Murderer. In 2006, 16 year old Wisconsin special education student Brendan Dassey gave a videotaped confession to the murder and sexual assault of a young woman named Teresa Halbach. That confession – extracted from Brendan after four interrogations over a 48 hour period – has been widely recognized as false and coerced due to Brendan’s inability to describe the crime accurately without being told the “right” answers by his interrogators. In fact, Brendan recanted his confession immediately, and no evidence connects him to Halbach’s disappearance. Nonetheless, he was convicted based on that confession and sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole before 2048. In 2016, two courts threw out Brendan’s confession and overturned his conviction – and Brendan came within twelve hours of release – before a federal appeals court reversed course on legal grounds. After visiting Brendan in prison, Jason Flom and Brendan’s attorney, Laura Nirider of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, unravel the case as Brendan joins them by phone from behind bars. Their conversation touches on hope, resilience, and the fact that Brendan – who will turn 30 on October 19, 2019 – has already lost fourteen of his life to wrongful imprisonment.